"Handcuffs" as written by and Vincent Accardi....
I'd arrest you if I had handcuffs I'd arrest you if I had the time I'd throw you down in the back seat As if you'd committed a terrible crime I'd break in a town's worth of houses And rob whole families blind I'd do it to you like you do it to me If you knew you would get away fine I'd drown all these crying babies If I knew that their mothers wouldn't cry I'd hold them down and I'd squeeze real soft To let a piece of myself die It's hard to be the better man When you forget you're trying It's hard to be the better man I'd arrest you if I had handcuffs I'd arrest you if I had time I'd wait for you outside the courtroom Taunting when all your appeals were declined I'd drive my car off of a bridge If I knew that you weren't inside With a pedal to the floor who could ask for more A fantastic way to kill some time And you could lay on your back and be beaten You could put up your fists and fight You could try and be way up Way up, way up, way up Way up, way up, way up It's hard be the better man When you forget you're trying It's hard to be the better man When you're still lying It's hard to be the better man When you forget you're trying It's hard to be the better man When you're still lying, you're still lying


Lyrics submitted by prayingmantis84, edited by toadling17

"Handcuffs" as written by Vincent Accardi

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Handcuffs song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commenthe is offically going insane.
    Avert Disasteron November 19, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWhile I think there is a battle here about being a better man vs seeking one's own justice the song speaks completely to the former does it not? It's hard to be a better man... one who hopes for a what goes around comes around... when you aren't trying/lying to yourself.

    What is stopping him from drowning babies? making arrests? Humanity? laziness? I think it is healty to question why being a better man is important. Why try and figure out why a baby is crying instead of drowning it (like several parents actually do). It seems like here, however, being a better man feels more like lying to yourself, or if you forget you are trying then you probably don't know why it is a good idea. And maybe sometimes it isn't.

    And imagine what would happen if you drowned those babies... .that piece of you that dies... is that piece of you that represents morality, good will, humanity. Your humanity would die, but what if you know there were no reprocussions. What if jail didn't exist? Does't that make morality pretty suggestive?
    maliciousintenton July 23, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentLyrics taken from Brand New's own site:

    I'd arrest you if i had handcuffs
    I'd arrest you if i had the time
    I'd throw you down in the backseat
    as if you'd committed a terrible crime.

    I'd break into a town's worth of houses
    and rob whole families blind
    I'd do it to you like you'd do it to me
    if you knew you would get away fine.

    I'd drown all these crying babies
    if i knew that their mothers wouldn't cry
    I'd lower them down and squeeze real hard
    and let a piece of myself die.

    It's hard to be the better man
    when you forget you're trying
    It's hard to be the better man.

    I'd arrest you if i had handcuffs
    I'd arrest you if i had the time
    I'd wait outside of the courtroom and taunt you
    when all your appeals were declined

    I'd drive my car into a bridge
    if i knew that you weren't inside
    With the pedal to the floor who could ask for a more
    fantastic way to kill some time

    You could lay on your back and be beaten
    You could put up your fists and fight
    You could try and be way off

    It's hard to be the better man
    when you forget you're trying
    It's hard to be the better man
    when you're still lying.
    8034on September 14, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentPssst, Vince Acardi wrote this song, not Lacey.
    ImYourDensityon November 19, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think it's too easy and frankly too cliche to always assume that every malicious sounding song is written for or about a girl. Brand New is in a mature stage in their song writing where their lyrics can transcend a number of issues and feelings. I'm not denying that a girl may have influenced this song as it did seventy times seven (well directed toward lead singer of TBS but was over a girl), but I am saying that this song's message could be applied to a number of situations, and for me at least, part of the beauty of a song is being able to relate it to instances in my own life.

    I think mason338 has come closest to properly interpreting the message here. I think the song is about the inner battle for wanting to seek personal justice for a wrong doing vs. being the proverbial "better man" by finding alternative and more passive means for finding closure. The theme of arresting someone if he had handcuffs and throwing them in the back of a car (like a cop, hey!) as if they have committed a terrible crime implies that although by the standards of law, whatever that person did, though not illegal by any legislature, could be just as cruel if not crueler than any petty misdemeanor or felony. Hence the continued ethical debate of justice vs. the law.

    I think the song is very logically and creativly written to follow the argumentative thought process we experience when in a rage and debating vigilantism vs. hoping that the theory of "what goes around comes around" holds true. On a camping trip one time, I had a friend who screwed the girl I liked, after she was black out drunk, in a tent, in front of everyone, after I had told him that I liked her and to back off. My first thoughts were naturally to douse the tent in kerosine and drop a match. This would have of course cost me time in the form of prison. I let it go, he came clean and apologized, we are still friends. It would have been a lot harder to have been the better man if he was ungracious about this (as the end of the song wraps up).

    Oh and Eyecon, what you said sounds idiotic. Fame and success is not getting to Jesse who didn't even write the song aparently. First, Brand New is not even THAT famous as bands go. Second, you don't have to be cold and numb to write a song like this, you just have to be good at expressing the way you feel.
    Midnight_Cowboyon November 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdirect quote from vin: "choking babies, gettin it on with cops, and robin hood (ie: stealing from the rich, giving to the poor)."

    it's also my mom's favorite song. holler.
    scienceandhonoron December 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, this song does reveal a very dark aspect of the God/Devil debate. But quite frankly, i think there are many clues relating this debate to another person. Be it female or male, it's too obvious that Jesse/Vinny has included someone else IN the activities they wish to partake in (thus the constant "YOU") I dont think its meant to be spiritual, as if the YOU is god OR the devil, but rather an exploration of the devil/god debate THROUGH maybe a relationship (again, not saying girl per say, could be friendship)

    Also, I love Brand New's last two albums, and I know i'll get REAMED by all you guys for saying this, but Jesse isn't a nice guy. He's actually conceited and kind've a dick. I am from LI (as I'm sure some of you are) and know plenty of people who know him and have known him. Also, he's not really a good singer at all. BUT he knows how to write music that works with his vocal strengths. If you listen to the album, you'll notice Jesse sings in a very simple range for most of it, and when he DOES stray, there's layers upon layers of him over himself. He can't really sing in tune, and so to make it more full (after tuning the notes in the studio which weakens their value) he sings so many layers. Again, I know you'll all go FUCK OFF AUTODAFE and shit but whatever. Just one man's opinion. I am NOT TRYING TO TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM BRAND NEW OR JESSE. The Mars Volta are stuck up and pretentious and they're my favorite band. Brand new's last two albums are gold, mainly because Jesse knows what he's capable of and he doesnt try to force himself into other things.
    theautodafeon April 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthonestly if vin wrote it, he should have sung it.

    his voice isn't as good as jesse's but it's not horrible, especially if he really tried and with all the studio help and shit.
    chris-jerichoon July 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWith a pedal to the floor who could ask for more?
    a fantastic way to kill some time


    Though this might be getting to the minutiae, I think the 'fantastic wya to kill some time' part is very poetic as when we usually say "oh im gunna go kill some time by doing this" we're talking about the present.
    However in this instance, killing some time is reffering to the future, as he's killing off all the time he'd have in the future if he didn't drive his car off the cliff.
    Ginoon September 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentno... this whole song is about society, and the anguish of people not trying to better themselves because they forget, that people don't wish to take responsibility, especially listen to the first few lines... if you could walk into anyones houses and steal their possessions w/o consequences...would you? and especially if you knew if YOU didn't steal their stuff, they would go and steal your stuff...

    the line about babies being killed is about how far people take it.. that if you're going to rip off people, you may as well kill children.. no consequence, other than killing yourself inside.

    the handcuffs part is about how quickly we judge others and wish them to be killed and screwed in jail, taunting them, saying we'd arrest and beat them if we caught them ourselves....but at the same time, many of us, would do the same if we knew no consequence.

    so the question is, are people really trying to better themselves? or is the world trying to turn into a place without consequence...total chaos, if you truly open your mind, is the enemy of life.
    droptozroon December 01, 2008   Link

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